La. Speaker of the House lobbies for centralized state sales tax collection

Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 7:06 PM CDT
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PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) - There’s a big push in the state legislature to centralize Louisiana’s sales tax collection, but ultimately it will be up to the voters. On Monday, the Louisiana Speaker of the House, Clay Schexnayder, was in Pineville to lobby for the change.

Cenla business leaders and officials gathered in person for the first time in more than a year, after restrictions made the North Rapides Business and Industry Alliance meetings go virtual. With things getting closer to looking normal, the speaker at their meeting is looking to make some changes when it comes to state sales tax.

“Right now we don’t have a centralized tax collection,” said Rep. Schexnayder.

Louisiana’s Speaker of the House lobbied for the state to adopt a centralized state sales tax collection system. Currently, Louisiana is one of three states in the U.S. that leaves it up to local governments.

“I do know in my business it’s very complicated,” said Rep. Schexnayder. “It’s complicated when I have to deal with multiple taxing authorities and interests out there. I want to make it simpler.”

The constitutional amendment will be up for debate in the upcoming state legislative session that starts on April 12 in Baton Rouge. It would create a state-wide entity to oversee and collect sales taxes.

“To make it easier for businesses to move to Louisiana and see a climate that we need to address,” said Rep. Schexnayder.

“If I’m coming into Louisiana and I’m going to be in 19 parishes, I have to set up that taxing structure in all 19 parishes, you would have 19 audits. So this way you would have one agency to go to,” said State Sen. Louie Bernard, R-District 31.

The speaker also said the state is missing out on internet sales tax dollars. He said his bill would also create a portal to collect those dollars and send them out to parishes.

“We have something that is a piece meal together to collect this with remote sellers, but it really didn’t solve our problems,” said Rep. Schexnayder. “We still have entities out there that those tax dollars aren’t coming to us.”

The Republican leader will need bi-partisan support. Especially since it’s a constitutional amendment, needing two-thirds of the state House and Senate to approve it.

“I do see it happening,” said State Sen. Jay Luneau, D-District 29. “Like the speaker was talking about that today and he’s exactly right. We worked on issues in a bipartisan manner like tort reform that we were able to work out. I think we can do that with this tax collection system, and I’m hopeful we can bring everyone together to do that.”

For it to pass, the legislature and governor will have to sign off on it. Since it’s a constitutional amendment, you the voter will have to approve of it as well. The state’s legislative session starts on April 12.

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